Progress toward gender parity in elected office in the United States has been slow, especially in comparison to other nations. Most of the 76 countries that rank above the United States for women’s political representation have adopted recruitment rules and voting systems that level the playing field for women candidates. It's clear from these examples that reaching gender parity in elected and appointed office will take intentional action and policy reform.
This report explores how rules and systems, particularly gender quotas and proportional representation systems, have helped nations around the world sustain progress toward gender parity in elected office. Understanding the impact of systems on representation in government is essential to designing strategies that address institutional barriers. The conclusion includes a proposal with tangible, data-driven solutions based on lessons learned from other nations that can move the United States toward reaching gender parity in government - in our lifetime.